Edward Albee’s play opens in Houston
by Donalevan Maines
How lucky can you get? A fortunate fluke led to director Jim Tommaney casting identical twin actors as the identical twins in Edward Albee’s new play Me, Myself & I at Midtown Art Center.
“I had Googled ‘twins in Houston’ in my casting search but couldn’t find any,” Tommaney began. “Then by total chance I was seated next to their mother at a business luncheon and learned about them.
“They are powerful actors,” he added, explaining that Albee approved their casting last September.
“Edward planned on being very heavily involved in the production,” Tommaney said, “but instead he has supervised long-distance.” Albee is “tied up” in New York City this month, the director explained, where the prestigious Signature Theatre is presenting his late-1970s play The Lady from Dubuque starring Jane Alexander. According to the Signature’s publicity material, “When an unexpected guest and her mysterious companion arrive, the question ‘Who are you?’ gains a whole new and desperate meaning.”
Likewise, identity and sense of self are key themes in Me, Myself & I, said Tommaney. “Identity issues are very overt. On the surface, it is a comedy of the absurd, but it is serious theater.
“Edward is a genius at comedy. There is a rhythm to it, almost like a symphony.”
Both Tomamney and Albee are in their 80s.
“The twin actors are just 17, but with a lot of theatrical experience,” said Tommaney. “Austin Jacobs plays ‘OTTO,’ the evil twin and Ryan plays ‘otto,’ the put-upon twin.”
Lisa Schofield plays their mother, who can’t tell her sons apart. Tyne Daly originated the role when the play premiered at Princeton University. Elizabeth Ashley was the mother in the New York production. Rounding out the cast are John Kaiser as Doctor, Lindsy Greig as Maureen, and Sam Stengler as Father.
Edge Theatre presents Edward Albee’s Me, Myself & I at 8 p.m. Friday–Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sundays, February 17–March 18 at Midtown Art Center, 3414 La Branch St. Admission is $20, $15 seniors and $10 students. For reservations, write to [email protected] or call 832/894-1843.
Donalevan Maines is a regular contributor to OutSmart magazine.